When I asked myself what blogging means to me, the answer came immediately: finding my voice. Reading isn't something I do, it's part of who I am. I don't remember learning to read, I don't remember a time when I couldn't read, a time when reading hasn't been (in the words of Anna Quindlen) "my home, my sustenance, my great invincible companion." But I've found it frustrating to talk about reading and books, other than with a few book-minded friends. So many people just don't read, they're not interested in books, they may even find reading a bit suspect. And then I find it hard to talk about books, to verbalize how enthralling or amusing or unsettling I find the book I'm reading, let alone reading itself. And I swear, the more passionate I am about a book, the less I'm able to convey that. It's the Mr. Knightley syndrome: "If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more." So I stumble and stutter along, as people start to back politely toward the door, and I usually end lamely with "It's just such a good book!"
But when I sit down at the computer with a blank post, I am finally able to put into words why it's such a good book. I don't write easily, but as I wrestle with words I'm able to name what I think about a book, how I feel about it, how it relates to other books I've read, or to something in my life. I can muse on my history with the author, or on reading itself. I can identify what I see as a book's strengths or its weaknesses (though I am not the most critical of readers). There is a freedom in knowing that anyone reading my post who gets bored will simply move on. And I can talk about whatever I'm reading. I do tend to be an eclectic reader; often when I finish a book, I want to read something completely different next. Whatever I'm reading, though, I'm sure to find someone else who has read it too.
Which brings me to a most amazing thing about blogging: not just that I've found a voice, but that I am heard. While I don't want to sound like Sally Field at the Oscars, I'm still sort of amazed and grateful that with all the blogs out there, all those great voices, people spend time here reading and commenting (of all the gin joints...). Again, thank you all for that. As wonderful as it is to have found my voice, conversation is much more fun than monologue!